No. 6 Villanova storms back to beat Syracuse at the Jimmy V Classic
Syracuse drops 67-53 to Villanova in Jimmy V Classic
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Syracuse fumbled a three-point halftime lead and lost 67-53 to No. 6 Villanova at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
Jimmy Boeheim led the Orange with 21 points at the Jimmy V Classic, which featured two former Big East rivals.
“I think the one thing that hurt us tonight is the rebounding aspect and (Villanova) was really quick to the ball,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They just beat us on second chances.”
The Wildcats shot 5 of 28 from behind the arc in the first half but improved to 26 percent overall to close the game. Justin Moore and Collin Gillespie led the Wildcats with 18 and 14 points respectively. The two Nova guards teamed up for eight made threes on the night.
“I thought offensively we just struggled,” Boeheim said. “They’re a really good defensive team. It’s a physical game and we’re not as physical as we need to be. We’re getting better at it, but they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
Cole Swider scored five points and hauled in 10 rebounds in his first game against his former team. Swider played under Villanova coach Jay Wright with the Wildcats for three seasons before transferring to Syracuse for this year.
“Unbelievable rebounding and he was a beast on the glass,” Wright said of his former player. “That was the first time we’ve done that: played against one of our former players. I can’t say I enjoyed it, to be honest.”
Villanova was SU’s second-ranked opponent of the season and its fifth non-conference top-quality basketball opponent of the year.
“I think we’re getting a lot better,” Buddy Boeheim said. “Going from the Bahamas and Colgate to playing a top team like this really until the end, until (Villanova) broke it open. It shows a lot how much we’ve grown on the defensive especially.”
The Orange will renew another former Big East rivalry against Georgetown on the road this Saturday at noon.